A Few Helpful Tools for the Homemaker

Several years ago I was given a cute gift basket filled with various “goodies.” One of the items in that basket has been such a helpful tool in our home that it is something I want to share with you. I know how busy homeschooling moms are. We want to maximize every moment of our days. I thought it might be helpful to dedicate this Mom’s Corner to describing several items in our home that are invaluable tools and time savers for me.

The pretty little “goody” in that basket wasn’t edible. It was a skinny pad of paper with flowery decorations and lines on it. It looked like you might use it for lists or for writing notes. In addition, it had a magnet on the back. I put that pad on my refrigerator because it had complementary colors to my kitchen.

One day someone said they needed another bag of socks from Wal-Mart. I suggested they write “socks” on the pad on the refrigerator and title that page Wal-Mart. The next time I thought of an item we were running low on that we purchased from Wal-Mart, I added it to that list. When we went to Wal-Mart several days later, I just pulled the page off the pad and was ready to shop. Immediately, I wrote Wal-Mart on the next page of the pad attached to the refrigerator. I asked my family members to write anything they needed from Wal-Mart on the list, and our shopping list habit was begun.

Within a short time, I purchased another magnetic notepad and put it on the fridge. Now I had a Wal-Mart pad and a Sam’s Club pad. Those are the two major places we shop for basic necessities. Anytime we are short of an item or out of it, we put it on that list. Now whenever someone is going to one of those stores and asks if I need something, I can tear the list off the pad and send it with them.

I can’t begin to tell you how simple this plan is and how much time it has saved us in not having to make trips back to the store for forgotten items. In addition, it has freed me from the mental burden of trying to remember what we need the next time we go to the store. I am secure knowing my list is on the fridge and ready to go.

My next time-saving help also is related to a magnet and my refrigerator. In this case, it is a clip with a magnet on the back of it. It also hangs on the fridge and holds the list of evening meals for the week. When I make up the weekly grocery list, it includes a section where the evening meals for the week are listed. I cut or tear that portion of the list off after grocery shopping and hang it in that clip on the fridge.

This list has also saved me much mental time and energy by allowing me to lay out my evening meals and then quickly see what each meal will be. I used to think and wonder and consider through the day what to make for dinner. If I was too busy to think about it, I entered the kitchen in the evening in a state of dismay at having to make a decision on what to prepare. Now it is all set out for me. The decisions are made once a week. All I have to do is to look at my meal list and go to work.

Would you believe one of my favorite household tools is a feather duster? For twenty-seven of my twenty-eight years of being married, I used a dust rag or lambs-wool duster for dusting tasks. I also avoided dusting some things, such as picture frames, door frames, silk flowers, and mini blinds, because they were difficult to do with those dusting methods. Last summer when we purchased blinds for the living room, a feather duster was recommended for cleaning them. I tried my new feather duster for other dusting besides the living room blinds, and I loved it. I even bought one for my mother and daughter-in-law for Christmas.

So what makes a feather duster so great? It gets into nooks and crannies that other dusters don’t easily reach. It gives me several extra inches of height so I can reach areas normally out of reach. My feather duster gives me a good angle for dusting, while the lambs-wool duster had to be held in a certain way. When dusting lightweight articles, it doesn’t move them around or knock them over. I have to admit I almost think dusting is fun now that I am using a feather duster.

While vacuuming is at the top of my list for household tasks I like to do, ironing ranks near the bottom. However, two ironing tools have made the job quicker, easier, and more pleasant. These items may be ones you will choose to save up for if you decide to try them since they are much more costly than magnetized shopping lists and feather dusters.

When the iron I was given as a wedding gift “died” after twenty years of use, Steve bought me a Rowenta professional style iron. I was absolutely amazed at the difference in ironing. The Rowenta is larger and heavier than normal irons. That means it irons more quickly and efficiently. Now I feel blessed, rather than resentful, every time I need to iron.

One day about two years ago one of my children decided to sit on my twenty-five-year-old ironing board. While Steve is great at fixing many broken things in our home, the ironing board was beyond help. I went out and purchased the most expensive ironing board I could find at Wal-Mart. When I set it up at home, I was appalled at how unsteady it was. With young children, I was concerned about their safety when they were around if I was ironing. We took that ironing board back.

Then we purchased a very nice ironing board at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I think this ironing board was around ninety dollars, and we had a coupon for 20 percent off. The ironing board from Wal-Mart was less then twenty dollars. I could hardly conceive of spending so much money on an ironing board. However, we decided, based on the board’s stability and added safety, to purchase it. I think every penny we spent was worth it. It should last the rest of my ironing life!

Not only did we gain the safety benefit we wanted, but we noticed several other benefits. This ironing board has a much larger ironing surface. That means I can iron more quickly and spend the saved time in another way. The board itself is taller so that I can stand more erect while ironing and not hurt my back. It is much heavier and sturdier so that it doesn’t rock when bumped. The ironing board has a place on the side to set the iron in so that it isn’t sitting upright on the board itself when someone isn’t holding it. Therefore, the iron is less susceptible to being knocked off the board. Each time I iron, I think about how grateful for something as simple as a high-quality ironing board.

The Lord has given homemakers the responsibility of being a keeper of the home. For me, having good tools to save me time and to help me in this process is extremely beneficial. I am happy to be as efficient in my homemaking as possible so that I have more time for mothering and schooling.